Microsoft releases Windows Me, public availability in September

Microsoft Corporation signed off on Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), ending speculation about its ever-drifting final release date. The company announced that the retail availability of the product is being held back until September 14th for some reason, however, though it should be available on new PCs in approximately 6-8 weeks. Windows Me is the latest version of Windows 98 and the last version of Windows to be based on the old 16/32-bit DOS/Windows code-base; instead, future versions of Windows will be based on the Windows NT/2000 kernel. Unlike previous releases in the Windows 9x family, Windows Me specifically targets consumers with new features aimed at improving the home computing experience.

"Build 3000.2 of Windows Millennium Edition was released to manufacturing (RTM) on June 19, 2000, and we are pleased to announce the release of yet another fantastic operating system," the company wrote in a message to Windows Me beta testers. "The Beta program was an overwhelming success."

"By focusing principally on the needs of the home user, we were able to create a more simplified PC experience for first-time users while enhancing existing users' experiences by enabling new home-computing scenarios," said Paul Maritz, group vice president of the Platforms Strategy and Developer Group at Microsoft. "Windows Me supports our goal to evolve the Windows-based PC to continue to provide a rich and exciting user experience in the connected home."

Windows Me focuses on four key consumer-oriented areas: PC health, digital media, home networking, and the online experience. It will cost the same as Windows 98, $209 for the full version or $109 for a version upgrade. I will be posting a full review of Windows Me to the SuperSite for Windows sometime this week

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